The ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Fellows program just completed its second full year and has been making strides in increasing diversity in the ISBA’s section councils and committees. The program continues to identify diverse future leaders and provides them with the opportunity to find their niche within the ISBA—hopefully paving the way to future leadership roles.
The nomination process is a relatively simple process designed to identify diverse candidates who have the potential for leadership within the ISBA. The process begins in approximately February of each year at which time nominations are accepted for the following year’s class of Diversity Fellows. Though self-nominations are encouraged, most nominations are made by other attorneys who recognize leadership potential in a nominee. Nominations require only the identification of the nominee, place of employment, type of practice, year of admission, and a brief description of the nominee’s leadership potential. Nominators also are asked to include information about how the nominee would add to the diversity of the ISBA. The incoming ISBA President-Elect then selects between five and ten of the nominees as the following year’s class of Diversity Fellows. Each Diversity Fellow then has a three-year term during which they serve on an ISBA section council or committee.
One of the benefits of serving as a Diversity Fellow is complimentary membership in the ISBA for all three years of the fellowship. Each Fellow is also paired with a Diversity Leadership Council mentor. These mentors are ISBA members who have served on the ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Council (“DLC”) and who have also held various leadership roles in ISBA section councils or committees. Once a Fellow is selected, his or her DLC mentor will begin to familiarize the Fellow with the ISBA, particularly its general structure and membership.
Since a very significant part of the ISBA work is undertaken by our section councils and committees, each Fellow is later assigned to a section council or committee which best reflects his or her interests. Like any other section council or committee member, Diversity Fellows are expected to regularly attend meetings, contribute to continuing legal education programming, actively participate in other programs and projects, and regularly contribute to newsletters.
Last October, the DLC held an initial orientation for the Fellows which included a luncheon, a general discussion about the ISBA and the Fellows program, panel discussions on specific topics, question and answer sessions, and an opportunity to meet and socialize with their DLC mentors and other Diversity Fellows. Additionally, the orientation was held in conjunction with a DLC meeting so that the Diversity Fellows were able to participate in an ISBA section council meeting. This was an excellent opportunity to learn about the incoming Class and provide them with a good foundation for their next three years.
The ISBA Midyear meeting held in December, 2011, also provided special opportunities for the Diversity Fellows. There was a second orientation luncheon focused on leadership. The Fellows were fortunate to hear from top ISBA leaders including President John Locallo, President-Elect John Thies, Second Vice-President Paula Holderman, Third Vice-President Richard Felice, and candidate for Third Vice-President Umberto Davi. During such a busy weekend, the Fellows greatly appreciated each leader who made the time to participate in the Fellows’ luncheon. The Fellows were also guests of the ISBA at the ISBA/Illinois Judges Association luncheon, and many stayed to observe the ISBA Assembly meeting and learn about the role of the Assembly, the policy-making body of the ISBA.
We congratulate and thank the Fellows, and we look forward to their continued success within the ISBA. If you know of an outstanding attorney who has leadership potential who would add to the diversity of the ISBA, please consider nominating him or her for the Diversity Fellows Class of 2013-2014. You may submit a nomination to Janet Sosin, Director of Bar Services, at .
2010-2011 Class of Diversity Fellows
• Kimberly Foxx, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Chicago
• Micah Hall, The Hall Firm, LLC, St. Louis
• Paula Lucas, Just the Beginning Foundation, Chicago
• Jameika Mangum, The Mangum Law Firm, LLC, Rolling Meadows
• Phyleccia Reed Cole, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
• Mikah Soliunas, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Chicago
• Derrick Thompson, Jr., Hoogendoorn & Talbot, LLP, Chicago
• Shira Truitt, The Truitt Law Firm, LLC, St. Louis
• Tamika Walker, Sreenan & Cain, PC, Rockford
2011-2012 Class of Diversity Fellows
• Beverly Allen, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance, East St. Louis
• Tara Ori, Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, Waukegan
• Cory White, Hafelein and White, LLC, Chicago
• Graciela Mata, Howard and Howard, PLLC, Peoria
• Carlos Claudio, Vazquez and Claudio, Chicago
• Naila Robinson, Kamerlink, Stark, McCormack & Powers, Chicago
2012-2013 Class of Diversity Fellows
• Carla Allen, The Allen Law Firm, St. Louis
• Veronica Armouti, Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard, Edwardsville
• Kim Chanbonpin, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago
• Junko Minami, Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Chicago
• Mehpara Suleman, Illinois Department of Revenue, Chicago
• Joslyn Anthony, St. Clair County State’s Attorney, Belleville ■